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Tips and Advice

While using the lists as a tool and guide to select publishers and journals can be part of your routine when verifying a journal's legitimacy, it is more important to investigate fully and ask questions you'd like answered. It is always best to do your due diligence and thoroughly investigate potential publishers.

What can you do to protect yourself and make sure you have a wide audience for your work?

  • Do a little extra investigation before you agree to publish.
  • Retain your rights!
  • Deposit in UC’s eScholarship or relevant subject discipline repositories
  • Still have questions? Call the library, we're here to help!

Extra Investigation: Common Characteristics of Predatory Publishers

There are many red flags to look for in order to determine whether or not a journal could potentially fall under the predatory publishing category.

Standards

  • Do not follow normally accepted standards of scholarly publishing
  • Time between submission and publishing looks too good to be true
  • List of editors are made-up names
  • Added editors who never agreed to be on the board to begin with

Website

  • ​Does it look professional?
  • Lots of grammatical errors
  • No contact information

Questionable business practices

  • Charging excessive author fees
  • Hiding fees from authors
  • ​Uses mass email solicitations for authors and editors

Other Clues

  • Out of the ordinary references, overemphasis on "scholarly factors" you’ve never heard of (e.g., impact views v. impact factor)
  • No instructions for authors
  • Is the journal indexed?

Dig Deeper

Before agreeing to or signing any contracts its always a good idea to dig a little deeper and give the situation its due diligence. Here are some tips and questions you might want to ask yourself:

Check publisher credentials!

  • Check if other articles that have been published are available and appear scientifically sound
  • Search for information on the editors, if they are legitimate they will have other published articles and an online presence
  • Use Google maps to verify the address of publishers contact information. Does the address look like a space where a legitimate publishing company would use?

Does the journal show common traits typical of other reputable journals?

Remember, most reputable journals will most likely include the following traits:

  • ​Editors and board made up of recognized experts
    • If you recognize any names of the editors or on the board, reach out to them for more information regarding the journal, publishing process, and any other information they can provide
  • Peer review process is clearly explained and rigorous
  • Fees are clearly stated and explained
  • ISSN exists
  • Contact information is clearly provided. Don't be afraid to contact them directly with any questions you may have!
  • Solicitations are well targeted, unobtrusive, and non-aggressive

​Does the journal mention being part of professional committees or reputable associations that create standards for publishing?

  • Committee on Publication Ethics
  • Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

Do the other articles in this journal add value to the scholarly discussion?

  • Take a look at the other published works within the journal, do they seem well done, contain legitimate information or data?

Predatory Conferences

By following similar investigation steps you can also verify the legitimacy of conferences.

If you are unsure of the quality or legitimacy of a conference, begin by verifying if the conference is hosted by well-known organizations, professional, university, or government.

Typically, predatory conferences occur as one-offs, rather than annual events. If there are previous events, browse through the publications and lists of speakers to help you assess the quality. If you recognize any of the speakers do not hesitate to reach out to them and ask them questions directly.

If there is an option to publish your research in any journals associated with the conference, check whether the publication is indexed in any of the databases in your field and review previous articles for quality.